This report provides background on intellectual property rights (IPR) and discusses the role of U.S. international trade policy in enhancing IPR protection and enforcement abroad. IPR are legal rights granted by governments to encourage innovation and creative output by ensuring that creators reap the benefits of their inventions or works and they may take the form of patents, trade secrets, copyrights, trademarks, or geographical indications. U.S. industries that rely on IPR contribute significantly to U.S. economic growth, employment, and trade with other countries. Counterfeiting and piracy in other countries may result in the loss of billions of dollars of revenue for U.S. firms as well as the loss of jobs. Responsibility for developing IPR policy, engaging in IPR-related international negotiations, and enforcing IPR laws cuts across several different U.S. Government agencies. The main structures for coordinating interagency efforts are the National Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Coordinating Council (NIPLECC) and the Strategy Targeting Organized Piracy (STOP!). Promoting the enforcement of IPR is an important component of U.S. international trade policy. Since the 1995 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) at the World Trade Organization (WTO), trade policy has been used to enforce IPR abroad. The United States and several trading partners recently announced plans to pursue a multilateral anti-counterfeiting agreement that would surpass TRIPS Agreement commitments. The United States also pursues international IPR support through regional and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), which often include IPR commitments by U.S. partners exceeding their TRIPS Agreement obligations. A central issue for Congress is the appropriateness of FTAs as a vehicle for promoting IPR. Congress also faces the challenge of balancing the need for IPR protection and enforcement with the goals of the Doha Declaration on Public Health.